Quenched hexacene optoacoustic nanoparticles

Antonio Nunes, Vikram J. Pansare, Nicolas Beziere, Argiris Kolokithas Ntoukas, Josefine Reber, Matthew Bruzek, John Anthony, Robert K. Prud'Homme, Vasilis Ntziachristos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Optoacoustic (photoacoustic) imaging enables high-resolution optical imaging at depths well beyond optical microscopy, revolutionizing optical interrogation of tissues. Operation in the near-infrared (NIR) is nevertheless necessary to capitalize on the technology potential and reach depths of several centimeters. Using Flash NanoPrecipitation for highly-scalable single-step encapsulation of hydrophobic hexacene at self-quenching concentrations, we propose quenched fluorescence-dye nanoparticles as a potent alternative to NIR metal nanoparticles for strong optoacoustic signal generation. Comprehensive hexacene-based nanoparticle characterization was based on a 5-step approach that examined the physicochemical features (Step 1), optoacoustic signal generation (Step 2), stability (Step 3), biocompatibility (Step 4) and spectral sensitivity (Step 5). Using this characterization framework we showcase the discovery of two nanoparticle formulations, QH2-50 nm and QH2-100 nm that attain superior stability characteristics and optimal optoacoustic properties compared to gold standards commonly employed for near-infrared optoacoustics. We discuss encapsulation and self-quenching (ESQ) of organic dyes as a promising strategy to generate optimal optoacoustic particles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-55
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Materials Chemistry B
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank Dr Christina Tang (Department of Chemical Engineering – Virginia Commonwealth University) for obtaining TEM images of the nanoparticles. The authors also wish to acknowledge Uwe Klemm for his valuable technical support on animal handling. RKP acknowledges support from National Institutes of Health (Award No. 1RO1CA155061-1), The Princeton SEAS Old Guard Fund, The IP Accelerator Fund, the Essig Enright Fund and the Helen Shipley Fund. MJB acknowledges a fellowship from the Research Challenge Trust Fund of the University of Kentucky. Vasilis Ntziachristos acknowledges support from the Leibniz Prize from the German Ministry of Research, the Cluster of Excellence ‘‘Nanosystem Initiative Munich’’ as well as the ERC Advanced Grant (233161) ‘‘Next Generation in vivo imaging platform for post-genome biology and medicine MSOT’’.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry (all)
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Materials Science (all)


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